Treatment aims to alleviate symptoms and accelerate healing of lesions in the short term and in the longer term to limit disease activity, scarring and the impact of the disease on quality of life.
The large number of treatment options available act by correcting one or more of the mediating factors that have been implicated in the pathogenesis of acne, and are commonly classified according to their route of delivery and mode of action. It is difficult to define an optimum treatment strategy because there is wide variation between individuals in response; finding the most suitable treatment is therefore a matter of trial and error. The comparative data on various therapies are limited and individual trials have obtained contradictory results, largely because of inadequate trial design and unfair comparisons in terms of dosage. Isotretinoin is the only acne treatment that can induce persistent remissions, but it is often unacceptable to patients because it has severe adverse effects. All other acne treatments are palliative and whilst improvement of symptoms and control of disease progression is possible, they need to be taken for prolonged periods.
Was this article helpful?